Daily Local News: Old State Tavern captures Greenday Trophy at 9th Annual Charity Challenge
By Bill Rudick, firstname.lastname@example.org
WEST CHESTER — It took a quick detour through the loser's bracket—and a new sponsor — but Old State Tavern (formerly Jack Cassidy's) rebounded from a semifinal loss to take both games of the championship finale to capture its third Greg Greenday Trophy in the past four years, and it's second straight.
"This tournament is always a great way to close out the summer season," said Old State coach Dan Lucas. "Even though it's always a tough and competitive field, we all know each other, so it's mostly friendly and good natured competition."
The Charity Challenge began eight years ago as a way to promote awareness of prostate cancer, and has thrived, raising thousands of dollars since its inception under the guidance of tournament organizer Joe Organek and his crew.
Nearly 1 in 7 American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetimes, with 180,800 new cases annually. Over 26,000 men will die as a result of the disease. Only lung cancer is a bigger killer among men.
"I think virtually everyone on this team has been affected by cancer in one way or another," said Tribe coach Ron Kummerer, whose team has been in the field since the start. "I lost my grandfather to prostate cancer, so this is a cause very personal to me."
Tribe took an extra step in helping with the cause, issuing a series of fines related to the playing of the games, and presented the tournament staff with a jar full of cash as donations at the conclusion of the tournament.
"We just wanted to make a little added incentive for our players," said Kummerer. "Any little effort we can make as a team can only help such a great cause."
The first title awarded on the weekend came Saturday evening. Teams ousted in the first round of play are put into the “B-Flight” bracket, and compete for its own championship trophy. This season, it was The Raiders over Bat's Plus/Kelly's Corner by a score of 19-16.
Old State kicked off its tournament with a 20-0 shutout of Delco-Chester, then followed with a 14-1 win over Maggie Mays/DVR, and then punched its ticket to the championship semifinals with a 19-6 victory over Barnaby's of Havertown/Side Bar.
The semifinals featured match-ups between Old State and Syndicate in the top half, and Tribe against Swing Nation in the bottom half. Both games went extra innings, with Syndicate edging Old State 19-13 in eight innings, while Swing Nation came away with a 19-15 victory in nine innings over Tribe.
In the winner's bracket final, Swing Nation put up big innings in the third and fourth to win going away, 23-13 over Syndicate.
Meanwhile, Old State's bats got hot, with back to back wins in the loser's bracket to earn a re-match with Swing Nation in the championship finals.
Game one went to the third inning tied at 3-3, but led by doubles from Jerry Dugan, Joe Kelly and Chris Kerstetter, and a homer from Tony Leon, Old State notched eleven runs in the fourth. With doubles from Pee Wee Stinson and Kelly in the fifth, Old State tacked on another five to win 15-6, forcing an "if" game.
The bats stayed hot in the next game, while Swing Nation's went cold. Old Sate's big inning came in the third, with five runs on doubles from Brian Leon and Mike Morrissey to go up 7-1,
Swing Nation battled back for a pair in the top of the fourth, on a two run homer of the bat of Adam Dragish to cut the lead to four, but it wasn't enough as a Kerstetter home run in the fifth made it 10-3.
While Swing Nation managed to push three runs across in the sixth, it wasn't enough, and Old State held on for the 10-6 victory.
"To repeat as champions in a field like this one is special," said Lucas. "So many good teams every year, and having to come out of the loser's bracket and win four straight wasn't easy. We're already looking forward to next year."
For his efforts all weekend, Old State selected Tony Leon as the Most Valuable Player.
"Tony has just been on fire lately," said Lucas. Not only here, but for the last few weeks, he's just been incredible. Every player on this team would agree he's been the most valuable.”
For Leon, it's just about playing.
"This is a tough tournament, so anytime you get away with a win is a great feeling," said Leon. "It wasn't just me—we all got hot at the right time. Even though the games are intense, it's really friendly off the field, with everyone having a good time. The fact that it's all for charity makes it even better. I love playing in this tournament."